George Burniston Oration
The AFRM's keynote lecture was named the George Burniston Oration soon after our incorporation into the RACP, as part of our efforts to showcase our history and pay homage to our founders.
About George Burniston
George Garrett Burniston was born in Sydney in 1914. He was educated at Sydney High School and the University of Sydney, from where he graduated MBBS in 1939. He came from humble beginnings to become an architect of rehabilitation for persons with disability in Australia. Through his involvement in international organisations, he influenced the policy-making decisions within the United Nations and in the area of international rehabilitation.
After graduation, George was a resident medical officer at Hornsby Hospital for two years before being commissioned as a flight lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Medical Services. He also served in Great Britain with the Royal Air Force (RAF) where he met pioneers in orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery and plastic surgery early in his postgraduate career.
Very early in his career he became aware that unless there was an outcome policy for the treatment of severely injured people, then excellent medical care did not always result in their return to a productive life.
George referred to the field of rehabilitation medicine as the “Cinderella” of medical specialties. Through his perseverance it became recognised as a principal speciality, offering a career structure for young doctors whom he encouraged to enter it. As well as doctors, he also encouraged allied health professionals to pursue a career in this area.
He described himself as a fatalist but fate played little role in his determination to place rehabilitation both in the broader context and in the specialty of rehabilitation medicine onto a firm footing in Australia.
For his work in rehabilitation of the handicapped, he was awarded an OBE (1969) and CMG (1972). He was a Foundation Diplomate in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of the Australian Postgraduate Federation in Medicine in 1970. He was elected a member of the Royal Society of Medicine (1972) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health in 1973. George served as a member of the WHO Expert Panel on Medical Rehabilitation for over 20 years and was a member, later vice-president, of the Council of the Australian Council for Rehabilitation of the Disabled until 1973. He was also an advisor to the National Specialist Qualification Advisory Committee.
Read George's full profile
in the College Roll.
||Professor John Olver
||Role changes and future directions of rehabilitation medicine in the post-COVID-19 era
||Associate Professor Adam Scheinberg
||To infinity and beyond: a state-wide model of service delivery for children living with disability
||Professor Chris Poulos
||Impacting health along the life course
||Associate Professor Michael Pollack
||Shifting definitions of health and illness; and the role of rehabilitation
||John Walsh AM
||Evolution of NDIS: Putting Disability on the Map
||Professor Jianan Li
||Neuro-injury and Rehabilitation in Natural Disasters
||Professor Derick Wade
||Healthcare disables people, rehabilitation can change the culture of healthcare and thus reduce societal disability
||Professor Ian Cameron
||Rehabilitation and Older People
||Dr James Gosney
||Professionalising the disaster rehabilitation response: Role of the ISPRM Committee on Rehabilitation Disaster Relief
||Professor Bruce Dobkin
||Confounders and Proposed Solutions for Neurorehabilitation Clinical Trials
||Professor Mark Jensen
||Psychological Factors in Chronic Pain following SCI and other disabilities
||Associate Professor Richard Jones
||George Garrett Burniston: The man, the mission and the memory
||Dr Harry McNaughton
||Rehabilitation: Across continents, across ages
||Dr Alex Ganora
||Professor Peter Langhorne
||Dr Adrian Von der Borch
||On the Margins of Rehabilitation
||Dr Lynne Turner-Stokes
||Evidence for Effectiveness of Rehabilitation following Brain Injury
||Professor Robert Helme
||Challenges in the Measurement and Management of Pain in the Elderly
||Professor Peter Brooks
||Rehabilitation and the Bone and Joint Decade
||Professor Lex Frieden
||Rehabilitation — A Global Perspective
||Professor Gerold Stucki
||Operationalisation of the ICIDH-2 for Clinical Practice
||Dr William Stone
||Rehabilitation: Where have we been & where are we going?
||Professor Roy Brown
||Challenges facing the education of health professionals in Rehabilitation Medicine as we approach the Year 2000
||Professor Chris Silagy
||Evidence Based Medicine
||Professor Herbert Kerr-Graham
||Professor Murray Brandstater
||Bridging the Gap – Hospital to Community Care
||Professor Carl V. Granger
||Preserving the Quality of Healthcare in the Business World
||Professor John Miles Little
||Confronting the Present, Confronting the Future